Merck KGaA chief seeks to repair investor relations

Merck KGaA has one of the worst-performing stocks in European pharma. But is that performance justified? Or is it a public relations problem? CEO Karl-Ludwig Kley seems to believe the latter. With a new CFO joining his team in a couple of months, Kley has promised to improve communications between the company and investors. He's even been calling analysts personally.

It's quite a change from the German Merck's previous modus operandi, analysts tell Bloomberg. In the past, executives have been fairly close-mouthed, and the company's investor relations group was slow to respond to analyst inquiries. There's been a lot of turnover in IR, too. "The individuals in IR tried to be helpful," MM Warburg's Ulrich Huwald told the news service, "but it was as if they were locked in a bunker away from the rest of the business."

The company admits it needs to regain some ground with investors. "Clearly we are in a position of trying to rebuild credibility," Joshua Young, head of IR since November, told Bloomberg. "In the course of 2011, we hope to take steps to do that."

- see the Bloomberg piece